In La Tribune 29/10/2019
Two of Boris Johnson’s promises will not happen: he will not die in a ditch even though Europe made the mistake of granting London a new and long postponement since London will not have kept the second commitment of a Brexit by 31 October 2019. The great Shakespearean tragedies inspired by treason probably is heavily being studied in Public Schools.
Remember, however, the important thirty seconds of Boris Johnson’s statement on 17 October 2019 in Brussels, when he announced the Brexit agreement: “The UK leaves all and entire on 31 October, and it means Northern Ireland and every other parts of the UK can take part not just in free trade deals, offering our tariffs and export our goods around the world, but also means that we can take together as a single United Kingdom decisions about our future, our laws, our borders, our money and how we want to run the UK”.
Another place and in connection with the same agreement is the statement by Scottish MP Ian Blackford on 19 October in Westminster: “Northern Ireland has been allowed special arrangement to remain in the EU single market and customs union and the Prime Minister will not offer Scotland the same arrangement “.
In short, the mutiny was brewing and Captain Johnson was too hasty to rejoice that the British crew was casting off into a single kingdom. In other words, the flavour of Brexit is the same as that of Scoxit, the next referendum that will separate Scotland from the United Kingdom.
Is a betrayed Scotland an independent but European Scotland?
Scotland in 2014 refused by 55.3% to break the contract signed with the United Kingdom in 1707, the Act of Union, notably because London had undertaken to remain in the European Union. By the 2016 referendum, this promise became a false oath, which is another reason for Edinburgh to untie itself from London. Scoxit is this breach of contract: Scotland wanted to keep the European Union it loses it, Brexit is Macbeth dressed in all the betrayals that lurks in Duncan’s room.
Certainly, non-European geopolitical interests will find it interesting to take old revenge on England by breaking up the United Kingdom like a puzzle, but would a Scotland independent of London be dangerous? Seen from Brussels, the situation in Edinburgh is the opposite of Barcelona. There is no violence in Glasgow and Madrid has never wanted or voted to leave the European Union. Moreover, no other EU country has the desire for an article 50 and troubled autonomous provinces.
But if this isolated territory carried the risk of becoming a source of instability, would it not be better if Brussels quickly put it back into its orbit? After all, Scotland is two and a half times larger than Belgium; its 5.5 million inhabitants are twice as numerous as Lithuanians, almost three times as many as Latvians and four times as Estonians; its overall GDP is equal to that of Denmark and per capita it is equal to that of Finland and higher than that of France. The country is familiar with the debates of the European Union, it already had a European Commissioner, Bruce Milan from 1989 to 1995, it has Members of the European Parliament. If Scotland were to apply as a state, it would tick all the boxes more quickly than a Balkan country.
Brexit or not, the schism is there
Whether or not Brexit takes place after the December parliamentary elections, or not in the event of a second referendum in favour of Europe, the outcome of either of these two events will continue to generate disputes with infinite limits for a long time to come. They are illustrated by the distressing show without fair play in Westminster: all hourvaris are allowed, members of parliament stab themselves like never before and madly destroy their caterpillars while craving butterflies. In so doing, these clashes prolong the break-up of a kingdom inhabited by provinces that oppose each other, generations that hate each other and families that are disgusted and divided for at least one generation.
That is why on the Scottish side the question will no longer be the same as it was in 2014 whether oil revenues will be sufficient to ensure Scottish independence , but rather to accept that in Shakespeare’s way independence will find most sufficient revenues from oil, renewable energies, salmon, whisky, tourism… In addition, the strong Scottish diaspora is probably as frightened as the other British of the future darkened by a kingdom without perspective. If these Scots return home, they will bring additional dynamism to Scotland and it is probably an outpost signal that London’s real estate market is deteriorating while those in Glasgow and Edinburgh are already rising.
In the event of Scoxit, let us accept that Scotland returns to the European house, because unlike fake-news, the European Union is peace from the beginning and it is always peace, except for those who leave it.